Income inequality effects achievement gap

Grace Fay, In-Depth Editor

Income inequality its effect on achievement disparity with students around the country is an issue that many have debated about and tried to solve, but at ETHS there actually is progress.

“I think it’s really important that this issue isn’t framed as a deficit, but as a challenge for the school and the community,” Asst. Supt. for Curriculum and Instruction Peter Bavis says.

Evanston is home to a very diverse community, in income, religion and race. And ETHS is no exception.

And yet, there is a separation among the students, especially when it comes to academics. In 2015, 90.5% of non-low income students met or exceeded the ACT college readiness benchmark in English. For the same measurements, only 41.9% of low-income students met that mark. Only 24.7% of low-income students reached the ACT college readiness math benchmark, while 80.6% of non-low income students did.

And income isn’t the only factor in achievement disparity. According a recent article in The New York Times, the achievement disparity grows significantly once race is added into the picture, even in affluent and diverse school districts like Evanston’s.

“We know that nationally, and at ETHS, race and income highly correlate,” says Bavis.

This is a huge disparity. And it is one that has politicians from Washington to Springfield arguing over. But ETHS is trying, and now you can see the effects of what the administration has done to shrink the gap. The Black Male and Female Summits were just one of the administration’s ways of trying to close achievement disparity.

“We can define the things that we have done to try and close the disparity in three categories,” says Bavis. “An academically rich environment, where we raise expectations for all students, an academic supportive environment, with Wildkit Academy and AM Support, and giving students of all backgrounds a sense of belonging and identity, with things like the Black Male and Female Summits.”

With a new election coming up, there will be numerous debates about racial and income inequality. But while all these people talk, ETHS has taken action, and will continue to take action, to make sure every student at ETHS succeeds.